(26 July 2003) Tr3nity are a five member group from Basingstoke, England,
a place not very far from London but rural enough to give artists the kind
of freedom needed to produce classic rock creatively. The band's first
offering, The Cold Light Of Darkness (Cyclops (UK) CYCL 111, 2002) is
an eight track neo-progressive concept project. The last four tracks actually
comprise and epic "The Exposure Suite." And you aren't meant to find a female
singer anywhere on the CD. Never mind that--this is a superb recording with
over an hour of material that our readers will flip over.
The band are fronted by lead singer Chris Campbell whose stage background
and major musical credits come shine in the power, range and emotion delivered
into the microphone. The band was formed by Rob Davenport (guitars, bass) and Paul
Gath (keyboards) in 1998. Campbell and Rolf Smith (drums) joined during 1999. Graham Lane has recently joined the band, adding bass
to their stage act. He will also play bass on the
forthcoming follow up album. The band is said to be influenced by Pink Floyd,
Genesis, Yes and other big 70s rock bands. Indeed one can clearly hear the
foundation--sweeping keyboard and soaring guitars especially fill the various
solos that grace the album--in their material. The extended keyboard and
guitar passages that conclude "Into The Dark" are among the first incredible
expositions of the artists' virtuosity.
The Cold Light Of Darkness draws the listener in from first listen
but it is the concept behind the lyrics that makes this more than just
another neo-prog album. With a strong emphasis on melody and structure,
the album is a mature work that explores the delicate and challenging subject
of child abuse and neglect. The subject is treated with sensitivity but never
denies the underlying truth. Says Paul Gath, "The concept for The Cold Light
of Darkness originated from the combination of a desire to explore the
personal effects of drug abuse on all individuals involved, including
the addicts themselves as well as their families and acquaintances."
Rob Davenport's niece Aime serves as the model for the stunning photographs
taken by Paul Gath and used throughout the album's artwork
The album delivers the message by telling the story of Cathy, gradually
unfolding a period of child abuse followed by an entanglement in the drug
scene through associations with the less desirable. The story further
unfolds from there. In addition to the album, Tr3nity have had a variety
of live dates during 2003. A performance with Karnataka at the Classic
Rock Society (HLC Rotherham) has generated a lot of interest in the band
and their material.
Campbell's voice perfectly compliments the structure of the album since
after all it is a concept work and the arrangements work cinematically with
the strong lyrical messages, each element of the complex story delivered
with a different element of emotion. Instrumentals vary effectively between
those that back the lyrics to the outstanding keyboard and guitar solos found
on the most progressive of albums. What sets Tr3nity clearly aside is their
ability to weave keyboard passages into an almost new age sound between these
two extremes. The material is complex and melodic. It is superb. Much
of the story is told through Cathy's words--it made us think of how this
album might sound if some of the more poignant lyrics were sung by a female
Progressive rock enthusiasts will be delighted with some of the extended
track lengths as well, some will see the four-part suite as one large
masterwork--we certainly did. Structurally the material is as progressive
as it comes. The conceptual theme of the lyrics is perfectly complimented
by the arrangements. And while there are no female backing vocalists, there are passages with lovely harmonies. We are told that female backing singers are being considered for the follow-up. The album's sound effects are incredibly
realistic and are by no means contrived; such is thunder and rain that precedes
the acoustic intro of "Into The Dark," an evocative and heavily themed tune.
With new age and progressive rock textures providing much of the foundation,
the bluesy rhythms and lush backing vocals (are there some women in here?)
in the epic "Which Way?" generate additional interest and show the diversified
realms this band can cover. Paul Gath's keyboard and Rob Davenport's guitar
solos duel throughout the bridge, but it is the extended guitar solo that
places the song clearly in the progressive rock camp.
The four-part (21-minute) "Exposure Suite" explores the many facets of
Cathy's personality and the thoughts and feelings that she experiences that
lead her to eventual salvation and redemption. "The Film" is a theatrically
oriented ballad with primarily acoustic guitar and light keyboard providing
the perfect foundation for Chris Campbell's evocative vocal lead.
Instrumentals--electric guitar, thick bass and keyboard--build to reflect
additional emotion as vocals rise to deliver the message. The vocal harmonies
in the concluding passages are tremendous. Many will likely agree with us
that it is one of the album's standouts.
The suite continues with the slow, melodic yet instrumentally austere track
"Help Me" which clearly illustrates Chris Campbell's sensitive delivery. Only
light keyboard backs this emotional tune. Brightness returns in the ballad
"Is There A Paradise?" in lyrical content, lovely backing harmonies and piano
melody. A very West End oriented number, it drifts significantly away from the
progressive rock sound heard earlier on the album. But it quickly returns
with the highly varied textures of the concluding track "Can't You See?."
Rocking drums and high pitched--flute-styled--keyboards open the piece
before the band's full splendour is displayed in this tremendous culmination
of the album. Evocative vocals--in a range of styles--are backed by symphonic
progressive arrangements. Listeners will adore the vocals and the instrumental
solos. A song-based progressive track and album standout, it is a perfect
conclusion to this stunning album.
We are told that the next album is well underway. We can't wait to hear
it. Until then read further reviews, listen to soundbites and order the debut
Further exploration of this material is most clearly worth a trans-Atlantic
journey. We believe that Tr3nity's album The Cold Light Of Darkness
is a must listen!